Bipartisan legislation Assembly Democrats Troy Singleton, Valerie Vainieri Huttle and Jamel Holley sponsored to help children cope with exposure to domestic violence was unanimously approved by the full Assembly on Thursday.
The legislation was born out of a recommendation in the June 2016 Report of the Supreme Court Ad Hoc Committee on Domestic Violence.
"The collateral damage inflicted on children of domestic violence can be devastating and long-lasting. Boosting therapeutic services for them can help mitigate this damage," said Singleton (D-Burlington). "This legislation is part of an effort to increase support services statewide."
The bill (A-4045) would require the Department of Children and Families (DCF) to establish and maintain a statewide, evidenced-based program to provide grants for developing and implementing therapeutic treatment, counseling and supportive services to children and their family members who have been exposed to domestic violence.
"Our goal is to reduce emotional scarring on children so that these innocent young people do not carry these wounds with them into adulthood," said Vainieri Huttle (D-Bergen). "This legislation is part of our continued, concerted effort to combat this insidious behavior while lending our support to victims and their children."
"Children who observe domestic violence in the home often experience high levels of stress and may come to believe that the violence they see is normal behavior," said Holley (D-Union). "Supportive intervention can help diminish some of the destructive, anxiety-inducing effects of domestic violence among New Jersey's kids and help break the cycle of abuse."
The measure now heads to the Senate for consideration.